This page lists a few lesser-used locations outside the main areas, or
that we don't have separate a page for. Basically, anything not covered in
one of the other pages may possibly be found here.
|Skylines can be useful! |
The first shot in the scene before the
camera pans down
Note the pointy-roofed building top left
|Far more people than I've ever seen |
here in reality
|The actual spot, looking downslope |
Note the building on the skyline, centre
|This is more like the usual crowd|
Just for completeness - the truck-in-the-mall sequence, where Hel and Sarge confronted the very same cop who arrested Gabrielle in Clones, was in the mall at the 'Manukau Supa-Centa' between Cavendish Drive and Ronwood Avenue, just west of Manukau City Centre. That was easy - Bevis spotted a 'Harvey Norman' sign on a shopfront and it was just a matter of looking in the phone book.
A couple of miles further on, overlooking Tamaki Drive and giving good views over the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, is the Savage Memorial, a formal garden and pond fronting a mausoleum and obelisk dedicated to Michael Joseph Savage, the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand. This has only been used in one episode, the Hercules episode Wedding of Alcmene, but it's unmistakeable. We hope the ghost of Michael Joseph Savage wasn't offended by the cinematic goings-on around his monument.
Savage Memorial, with Rangitoto island on skyline
For decades I'd been wondering where the clifftop scene in The Furies was,
without ever holding out much hope of finding it (a cliff with pine trees on top? -
hundreds of possibilities). Then, recently (September 2018) it occurred to me that
a spot I've walked past several times recently might be it. And it was!
Between Green Bay beach and Taunton Terrace is a small clifftop park full of pine trees. Overlooking the beach is a small headland, with 80 feet high cliffs, which is where Iolaus rescued Leandra in Love Takes a Holiday. Careful examination shows the whole scene was shot here (no green screen). Erosion at the top of the cliff has left a cluster of exposed pine roots, cleverly used with the right camera angles; the actors were clutching the roots at the top of the slope, the stunt doubles were genuinely dangling off roots over the sheer drop.
|Iolaus chases the evil Iagos||and Leandra||to the cliff edge|
|The scene is
||exactly the same
|Dangling over the sheer drop||(cut to the leads)||scrambling over the roots to safety|
|The cliff is unchanged today||The slope above the cliff edge||Green Bay beach is just below|
A hundred yards further along, and a little higher up the cliff, is the scene where Xena confronted Ares in The Furies. This is just beside the official footpath which has since acquired an official 'safety' rail.
|Ares and Xena||on the cliff edge||130 feet above the beach|
|Safety rail installed since
||Looking up past the tree roots
||Looking down on the camera position |
for the shot at left
The first shot above exceeded the contrast range of my camera; either dark foreground or
faded-out horizon. The extraordinary depth in the view achieved by Renpics must have needed
powerful foreground lighting.
Xena and Ares are standing a couple of feet from the edge of a 130 foot sheer drop. The third view is the actual view down the cliff at this point. To get the shot looking diagonally up at the actors, the cameraman must have scrambled down three or four feet to a little natural platform perched above a tree overhanging the drop. Very, very carefully.
At Flat Bush, on the edge of the urban area south-east of Auckland, is Murphys Bush,
a quarter-mile strip of native forest which escaped the attentions of farmers. Under the
mature trees, thousands of young nikau palms are growing up, and the resulting absence of
undergrowth below them makes them easy to walk through (in a sense, the nikau palms are
Being right beside Murphys Road, it would have been convenient for access, and the ease of walking or running through the nikau palms would have been ideal for filming. Now, there is a lot of traffic noise from the road, but it was a lot less busy in those days.
This reserve was used for many episodes of Hercules, right from the very beginning (as discussed by Kevin Sorbo and Wayne Rose in the commentary to Encounter). Most probably, it would have been used quite frequently in Xena episodes too.
Obviously, the usual method of verifying locations - pick a distinctive isolated tree silhouette or rock face in the episode and match it visually with the original - is going to be extremely difficult here. But it's probably fair to assume that, if you walk through the bush from the car park (at the northern end) to the southern end and back, you will have walked 'through' many scenes from Herc and Xena.
|From Hercules and the Amazon Women,||nikau palm undergrowth||and a clearing|
|Murphys Bush...||thousands of nikau palms||and one of several small clearings|
Further on, 15 miles south-east of Auckland in the Hunua Ranges lies Hunua Falls, a waterfall on the Wairoa River. This featured in a number of episodes - for details see the new 'Waterfalls' page.
According to the commentary for Encounter, RenPics made extensive
use of the area above a quarry at Drury. This has some small coppices and
bordering grass areas, and can be seen in Encounter (where it matches
well with the woodland of Murphys Bush in the same episode). At one side
the ground drops away (with the quarry presumably invisible below the edge)
to leave a vista of distant countryside through the gaps in the trees.
Kevin Sorbo notes that the huge scattered rocks are real.
This is almost certainly the huge quarry on the edge of the scarp at Ramarama, just southeast of Drury. (So far as we know the quarry itself is never seen on the show, and should not be confused with the 'quarry' sets at Sturges Road or Lion Park. A real quarry was used in early Herc episodes such as Lost Kingdom and Gladiator, but is more likely to have been the partly-disused quarry on the Te Henga Road to Bethells).
Some of the location may have been quarried away by now, and it is all in private property, so this location is mentioned just for completeness.
A series of scans of the location from the episode Encounter are shown below.
A number of scenes in other episodes come to mind, which may have been
shot here, but only some careful comparison of the backgrounds would confirm this.
The fight between Herc and Xena in The Gauntlet was probably shot here (unless there's another location that looks remarkably like this one):
Fairly certain are the first few 'outdoor' scenes in Maternal Instincts...
... and, more speculatively, the first appearance of Morrigan in Resurrection.
Jumping back to the north-west of Auckland, but also in private property, Renpics have used a valley in the Bethells area extensively for the filming of Hercules and Xena episodes from Hercules and the Amazon Women onwards.
The best view of the valley can be obtained in the Hercules episode Let The Games Begin, where the camera tracks right round the valley. The lower part of the valley is an open grassy paddock, backed by a steep hill slope with scattered trees; this has been used, for example, in the confrontation with Caesar and the Ares scene in The Deliverer, and Xena talking to Boadicea in her chariot.
|Two views from...||Let The Games Begin||Caesar tries his favourite game in The Deliverer|
The upper part of the valley is surrounded by thick bush covering the slopes on all sides, with clearings in the valley bottom. In one of those clearings is, or was, the remains of the Amazon village from Hercules and the Amazon Women; the curving stone staircases can be clearly seen, and the platform with a spiral staircase that Callisto stood beside when giving Hope the 'Gabby look' in Sacrifice 2, and from which an Amazon sentry threw a spear at Aphrodite in Love Amazon Style. These clearings have also been used for, among many scenes, the 'capture' scene in Ides of March, Hercules talking to Morrigan in Darkness Rising, and a host of others.
|Looking down on the upper valley||The capture scene in Ides of March|
|Where did that woodwork come from? (Sacrifice 2)||Callisto's spiral staircase looks just as incongruous in real life|
The South Island has never been used for filming an episode, but we think
that some time, very early in the series, PacRen must have taken Kevin Sorbo
and Lucy plus a camera crew down to South Island for a couple of days and had
them run past the camera to create some stock footage, which they've used at
intervals as continuity shots ever since.
Mitre Peak on Milford Sound also crops up in the background in several episodes, such as Past Imperfect.
|A South Island mountain range is
the very first scene
in Sins of the Past
|Aidan's house enjoys a nice view of Mitre Peak|
There were three things which were a source of niggling discontent to us
as location hunters. One was the location of The Debt, one was lakes,
and the biggest one was waterfalls. Well, The Debt we've found (see
the Central Plateau page), the lakes
have turned out to be mostly the remarkably ubiquitous lake at
Sturges Road with an assist from
Lake Okaihau - but the waterfalls remained
to plague us. Somehow Pacific Renaissance's scouts
found, within easy distance of Auckland, a number of waterfalls that we
just couldn't find!
Since then, though, hunting waterfalls for their own sake has turned up quite a number of the waterfalls featured, enough to justify their own page here.
(For more waterfalls, not necessarily associated with Herc or Xena, there's a page here.)
Any comments or questions, email: